Hadley council: Turns on red at central intersection will help keep cars off local roads

Staff Writer
Published: 10/29/2020 8:54:45 PM

HADLEY — A request from Hadley officials to the state Department of Transportation to make changes to the main intersection in town center is part of a continued effort to have vehicles traveling through town use the state roads, rather than going through residential neighborhoods.

The Select Board Wednesday voted 4-1 to ask the state to remove the “no turn on red” signs at the corner of Routes 9 and 47.

The idea behind taking down the signs is to encourage more drivers, especially those traveling from Amherst to Northampton, to remain on Middle and Russell streets, roads maintained by the state, rather than using North Lane and West Street to get to Route 9.

Only board member Jane Nevinsmith voted against the contents of the letter, noting she is worried that pedestrians who need to cross Route 9 will be at risk of being clipped by turning vehicles. Senior citizens were among those who asked for the installation of the signs to promote safety.

But board member John C. Waskiewicz II said it is already illegal for vehicles to make a turn when the crosswalk light is activated and pedestrians are in the crosswalk.

After extensive discussion, though, the board narrowly rejected, by a 3-2 vote, a second letter that would have asked the state to install signs prohibiting eastbound vehicles on Route 9 from making left turns onto West Street, Whalley Street and Goffe Street.

The decision came after the board asked the Department of Public Works earlier in the month to install speed tables on North Lane to see if that would reduce traffic on West Street passing by the historic town common.

Board member Christian Stanley said no letter should be written without input from West Street families, observing that prohibiting the turn would force residents to change their routes home.

In addition, there was uncertainty about whether drivers would be confused about making left turns to access buildings on the north side of Route 9, such as Most Holy Redeemer Catholic Church and the Dunkin’ Donuts.

Nevinsmith said the ban could also throw a wrench in activities held on the common.

Chunglo, though, said she believes West Street residents want the change. “I think they’ll be more happier without excess traffic going 50 mph down their street,” Chunglo said.

She was joined in support by Chairman David J. Fill II. He argued that cutting down on traffic and reducing chances of rear-end crashes on Route 9 is a good reason to prohibit left turns for eastbound vehicles.


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